By Humphrey Carter

IN preparation for what is shaping up to be the best Easter and Summer holiday seasons for at least the past three years, Majorca's hotel sector is already getting ready.

Yesterday, the President of the Majorcan Hotel Federation, Marilen Pol, announced that just over 45 percent of the island's hotels are going to be opening in March, which is the equivalent of 81'500 hotel beds, and that the official start of the season is going to be on April 15.

Pol said that come the beginning of the season, nearly 70 percent of Majorca's hotels are going to open for business taking the total available occupancy to 122'000 and in May, she understands that all of the island's hotels are going to be operating.

All the latest tourist market reports, especially from the UK, continue to suggest that the increase in demand for Majorcan, and Balearic, holidays in general is continuing, which is why Majorca's 200'000 hotels beds are going to made up and available in May.

As the Bulletin has already reported, some Majorcan hotels have issued “stop sell” orders to UK tour operators for June because they are either already fully booked or nearing maximum capacity and want to save some room for the domestic Spanish operators which are always late in making their block bookings for hotel beds.

They tend to get Easter out of the way first but, with Easter falling very late this year, some Spanish tour operators have been warned that unless they act quickly, they might find themselves being squeezed out of the Majorcan market by the jump in demand from the British, German, French and Italian markets this year.

But, while the Easter and Summer holiday periods are looking encouraging, it has been a cold winter for many resorts and Pol said that she has been saddened by the lack of hotels which have remained open over the winter.

According to her calculations, seven years ago, double the number of hotels were open during the winter than this year and that 15 percent less beds were available this winter than winter 2009/2010.

Pol said that until the island can buck that trend, the much talked about “decentralisation” of the holiday industry, with greater activity during the low season, is not going to happen.